How remote work is giving a better work-life balance for women in tech - With Nirali Sonchhabda

At CodeMonk we have a community of 3000 skilled developers, engineers, and other profiles in the tech industry. We like to uncover the people behind the keyboards, and what better than to ask them some tricky questions about life as a talent in tech. Today, I am talking to my colleague Nirali about working & parenting, the survival of WordPress, and being a woman in the tech industry.

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Nirali

When I first joined CodeMonk I was told that one of our team members would also come back part-time from her maternity leave about the same time as my starting date. I learned that she was the master behind all the updates on our website, and from time to time I saw these changes being made when browsing through the pages. But I never actually met the person. Who is she? Who is this woman that is fixing all our issues and working through our backlog without a single complaint about my lousy bug descriptions? I am about to find out.

I have scheduled a conversation with Nirali at the time when her baby is taking a nap. Very convenient. But we never know. The baby might wake up any second, but that is the beauty of home office and working for a remote and flexible company - she can be there to handle the situation. Just as easy as she is handling my ticket for website fixes on Jira.

“I wanted to be a doctor! But after some thinking I realized that I have no-one with that background around me and it would have been very difficult for me to establish as a doctor. It would take time to set up my own clinic, so I took the wise decision to go for engineering instead. I never regretted it.”

Nirali grew up in Gujarat in India and currently lives in the city of Ahmedabad with her husband and baby. Covid has taken a toll on India, and the country has had many lockdowns, curfew and working from home measures. Not just in India, but all over the world – this has forced many parents to be teachers, play-mates and constant supporters for their children. All while working full time. For Nirali, the working from home was somewhat of a blessing.

She tells me that in India it is up to the employer if they are providing a maternity leave to a mother and also define their own terms for this period. For me, coming from a country where both maternity and paternity leave of up to a year is almost taken for granted, it is good to know that I work for a company that understands the benefits of keeping great employees also when they are in a stage of establishing a family.

“Everyone around me is so happy that my company is supporting me so that I am able to work. I am happy too, since I am able to follow my passion when it comes to constantly learning new skills.”

Nirali has been working with CodeMonk client Startupbootcamp on their website, and all other WordPress Clients and now she is maintaining the website and developing new features and code level changes plus content level changes – all in Webflow. She got into Wordpress quite early on and quickly found interest in plugin development and theme development.

“Generally people say that you should have experience in 2-3 technologies, but I have managed to survive in WordPress for almost 8 years now. Only when I now started working on the CodeMonk site, I made a switch to Webflow.”

So why do you think WordPress has managed to be relevant for so long?

“I think it’s because it is quite easy also for clients to build and maintain their site in Wordpress, they can easily find and edit everything themselves. But now I feel that Webflow is gradually replacing Wordpress, so I am happy I had this opportunity to learn something new. You never get bored in computer engineering, and there are always new things happening and new types of client.”

“The reason I like working on projects through CodeMonk is because I get to meet new clients and some of them I work as their dedicated developer, which is great cause I learn so much and get a lot of confidence from that. At the same time – working in a team with CodeMonk also gives me the opportunity to work with so many skilled colleagues. I really found some good mentors within the team.”

I am curious to know if working remotely has been only positive for Nirali. I can definitely see the benefits of having a more flexible working style when you have a small baby in the house.

But would she ever go back to the office?

“It has been great so far, but I think when the baby is older it would be nice to be able to fully focus on my work. Now I can look after her during the day, but I’m also doing the household tasks and taking care of the family. But I believe this option is a good way to get more female back to work quickly.”

It is a given fact that women are still underrepresented in the world of product development and engineering, but Nirali tells me that many of her friends in India are into the same line of work as she is.

So what can we do in CodeMonk to support more of these women and also make sure that more women go into these professions in the first place?

“I think it’s important to share stories about women already doing the job and being more than capable of working as engineers or developers. I also think that promoting a remote working culture is helping a lot of mothers get back to work faster. Companies like CodeMonk play an important role in driving this trend forward, so I am encouraging all industry colleagues to register and drive this change through more remote work, decentralization and be able to access better opportunities – for both men and women!”

Nirali

Nirali

Nirali is a software engineer with experience in PHP based Content Management System + Wordpress theme and plugin development. As a web developer her expertise is to create attractive and user-friendly websites according to client specifications. Recently she started working on the visual coding tool Webflow while also enhancing her knowledge in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).

Nirali